The coronation approaches

The ultimate shortlist of custom creations has been chosen. Soon the King of Custom will be crowned….

Words: Jeremy Pick

The Battle of the Kings competition is the ultimate custom bike contest. Authorised Harley-Davidson® dealers from across the world compete against each other in a battle of customisation skills to see who can produce the best and most original custom Harley-Davidson project with a limited budget and access to the official H-D® parts catalogue.

More than 200 dealers from 30-plus countries entered the contest this year to create bespoke, ground-breaking Harleys®, using only their imagination, skill and a budget no bigger than half the cost of the original model.

The battle kicked off with a public vote to shortlist each country’s favourite bike, then that shortlist was whittled down as each country crowned its National Winner, with a shortlist of five bikes selected by public vote to compete in the Grand Finale at the EICMA Show from November 5-10 in Milan. Now, voting is closed and the final five – representing dealerships from Germany, Canada, Mexico, USA and the UK – have been selected.

Everything depends on the panel of experts at EICMA, who will pick the ultimate winner: this year’s champion in the Battle of the Kings!

Here is the 2019 shortlist of five contestants:

Thunderbike Harley-Davidson: Roar

Thunderbike took the already sporty FXDR 114 and dialled the race elements up to the max to make a true custom dragster – lowered and with GP-style bodywork and a generous helping of Dominion accessories and paintwork with gleaming silver accents (pictured above).

United Kingdom
Warr’s Harley-Davidson: The Crook

Based on a donor Street Bob®, The Crook keeps the identity of the bike but dials up the attitude with fat rims and tyres, a cutaway fuel tank, upswept 2:2 exhaust system and Defiance Collection accessories for a deceptively simple, understated look.

Harley-Davidson Queretaro: Joe Tracker

Board track racers from the 1920s were the inspiration for Joe Tracker, built from a Softail Slim®. Solo seat, leather accents, 21-inch wheels and bullet headlights give this build a deep vintage racer look.

Calgary Harley-Davidson: Moonshine

The Calgary team took a 2018 Sport Glide® and, inspired by the much-loved 1980s FXRT, transformed it into a retro club-style bagger with FXR-style fairing, hard bags, and a host of black and copper accessories to create a vintage tourer with a truly modern twist.

Laidlaw’s Harley-Davidson Los Angeles: Coast Glide

Laidlaw’s H-D took a donor Sport Glide® and gave it throwback FXRT styling with a Southern California twist to create a bike that pays tribute to the SoCal influence on modern performance cruisers. The name ‘Coast Glide’ is in honour of the famous Pacific Coast Highway that sits on Laidlaw’s doorstep. As a concept, it covers a lot of ground. As a design, it’s far more than the sum of its parts. And as a 2019 Battle of the Kings entry, it’s definitely one to be reckoned with.

Click to see the 2019 entries.